July 2019

Change Making and Culture

We have been in talks recently on a consulting project with a highly successful Multinational Organisation (MNC), in Malaysia that is facing increasing competition and disruption from many areas. Senior leaders are aware that change is required and imperative and yet while the organisation continues to thrive, there is resistance to change from the employees.

Establishing the business case or reason for change within an organisation requires a clear narrative that is set from the start. It is crucial to convey the ways in which it will be of benefit to the shareholders, employees and customers. It is inevitable that as a part of the reorganisation, there will be restructure and roles that become redundant. One of the challenges this organisation faces in making changes, is how to do it in a way that accords with the Malaysian culture. One of the methodologies being used to translate the message of change is playback theatre - where actors play different roles and demonstrate different scenarios that staff can relate to. Some of the advantages of using theatre are that it helps raise issues without being personal, allows employees to share the experiences, creates dialogue and does not make them feel vulnerable.

When consulting on projects like this one, the cultural context needs to be considered in the scenario. Another client we worked with many years ago that was restructuring, often chose big town hall style meetings to announce change however after considering the cultural context opted instead for large picture board sequences to visually demonstrate the change. The story boards were a great success and led to smoother transition.

When embarking on the journey of change, it is useful to take into consideration the importance of culture in the change plan so as to maximise the chance of success. Rather than just executing, our client has considered the best way to implement change that also resonates with their employees and their national culture.


This month you can gain insight into Cultural Intelligence and Global Leadership as part of my foundation series.Click here to listen


Book Recommendation:


The Courage to be Disliked, Ichiro Kishimi and Fumitake Koga

The Courage to be Disliked demonstrates how to unlock the power within yourself to be the person you truly want to be. Released for the first time in the English language, the Japanese phenomenon teaches us the simple yet profound lessons needed to liberate our real selves and find lasting happiness.

Using the theories of Alfred Adler, one of the three giants of 19th century psychology alongside Freud and Jung, The Courage to be Disliked follows an illuminating conversation between a philosopher and a young man. The philosopher explains to his pupil how each of us is able to determine our own lives, free of the shackles of past experiences, doubts and the expectations of others. It's a way of thinking that's deeply liberating, allowing us to develop the courage to change, and to ignore the limitations that we and those around us can place on ourselves.The result is a book that is both highly accessible and profound in its importance.

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